And at the Arboretum, the Show Begins

April is one of the funnest months of the year at the Arboretum. Suddenly, after months of snow and cold, the whites and grays of winter are replaced with baby greens and the riotous colors of spring blooms.

The last time I was there, I noticed that they'd planted stands of fritillaria on the edges of the big tulip display near the Sundial. On this day, those fancy plants (Fritillaria imperialis, to be specific) were looking pretty amazing, standing tall and proud, with their blooms nearly ready to open.

When I am taking pictures, I like to convey a sense of place by including in the shot some iconic item that everybody recognizes. Around here, the Sundial is one of those things. (The colorful transformation canopy at Childhood's Gate is yet another.) So please enjoy this a shot of our beautiful gardens in early spring.

Now there is another thing I must say about this day. In the afternoon, while I was at work, suddenly my news feed was full of pictures and videos of the great cathedral of Notre Dame, in Paris, burning.

The stories were increasingly dire - that the building would burn to the ground, that the fantastic stained glass windows had already all blown out from the fire. I have to tell you, folks, I sat at my desk and I wept. I looked until I could not look any more. And then, finally, I looked away.

I like to think I was not crying for myself, although maybe I was a little. Stained glass windows are one of my favorite things. I don't know that I ever thought I'd get to Paris anyway. But as long as the great cathedral stood, there was always that chance.

More so I was crying because, having studied art history along the way, I have some idea of the great treasures and relics kept inside the cathedral at Notre Dame. The Crown of Thorns. (Yes, THAT crown of thorns.) Pieces of the True Cross. (Yes, THAT cross.) And statues and art and sculptures and windows and . . . I just couldn't bear it. I turned the Internet off.

But this morning, Tuesday morning, as I post this, the news stories are full of more details. That the interior wooden frame burned but the cathedral structure itself still stands. That the three glorious rose windows have been saved! That French billionaires are stepping forward to pledge funds - $300 million at last count - to rebuild the treasured structure.

The news stories said that the cathedral was undergoing renovations, and so some of the items inside had already been removed. A pre-existing plan to protect Notre-Dame’s treasures had been rapidly and successfully deployed, other news outlets reported.

They say they will rebuild the great cathedral and restore it to its former glory, and I find I am crying again. What we love, we protect. What we love, we rebuild. What we love BEST, we carry with us in our hearts, where no fire can destroy it. In short, love rules, and the human spirit is unconquerable. That is my take-away from this tragic tale.

So here is my soundtrack song: Don Henley, with Love Rules.

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